11, 2001, Gazette)
opens window to depression
Moyra Buchan, executive director of the Canadian Mental Health
Association, Newfoundland and Labrador Division; Yvette Goodland,
Memorial University social work student; and Debbie McGee, School
of Continuing Education producer for Out of the Dark.
Dec. 13 was a special day for
Memorial University social work student, Yvette Goodland. That
was the day Out of the Dark: Youth and Depression, a video
on Ms. Goodlands experience with clinical depression, was
officially screened to students (along with a full complement
of media) at Holy Heart of Mary High School. The video is the
handiwork of the School of Continuing Educations Debbie
McGee, but its history goes back beyond that.
A few years ago Moyra Buchan, executive director of the Canadian
Mental Health Association, Newfoundland and Labrador Division,
was looking for a solution. How does one speak to teenagers about
a topic as sensitive as depression in a way that reaches them?
She needed a credible speaker to address school groups and demystify
this mental illness. Enter Yvette Goodland.
Heres the ideal candidate. Ms. Goodland articulately and
vividly describes what she went through as someone suffering
from clinical depression. Seven years ago she attempted suicide
and the treatment she received as a result was, for her, like
throwing open the windows of a shuttered house.
Ms. Goodland began volunteering with the CMHA partly in fulfillment
of requirements for her degree, but her popularity as a guest
speaker in the school system intensified. Over five years, she
has spoken publically some 200 times a rewarding experience,
but often exhausting as she relived those dark years with each
With financial support from the Rotary Clubs of St. Johns
East and Northwest, the CMHA contacted the School of Continuing
Education to prepare a video on Ms. Goodlands experiences.
Ms. McGee was assigned to lead the project and the result is
a picture of survival and hope. A video users guide and
a poster is provided with each copy of the video, which can be
purchased through the CMHA (www.nflab.cmha.ca).
Further support to distribute the video throughout the school
system came from Shoppers Drug Mart and the provincial Department
of Education. It is currently being piloted in selected schools
throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, with an eye to incorporating
the video into the high school family studies curriculum.
The project was finished just in time. Ms. Goodland left the
day after the screening for Australia, where she will complete
a final work term before graduating with her social work degree.
Ms. Buchan and Ms. McGee are exhilarated with the reception of
the video. I can tell from the silence in the room that
the audience is listening to every word, and thats not
easy to achieve with youth audiences, said Ms. McGee.
As for Ms. Goodland, her heads probably still whirling
from all the media interviews and congratulations she was receiving
up to the day she left for Australia. Even though shes
out of the country, shes helping more people than ever.